Along the lines of Batman Year One and The Dark Knight Returns, 1988’s Batman: The Killing Joke is considered a classic and one of the best Batman (and Joker) stories ever. Written by legend (and all around curmudgeon) Alan Moore and fantastic art by Brian Bolland, this one shot would lay the groundwork for many years to come in the Bat-books, particularly for one Barbara Gordon. It is here that the tragic events that turn her from Batgirl to eventually Oracle occur. (I kept that vague, just in case I have to worry about spoilers, which I probably do not.)
The book is violent and a physiological head trip for all involved, especially the Gordons. We get perhaps the most definitive Joker origin (if there can ever be such a thing), in the pre-New 52/pre-Zero Hour/can anyone keep track anymore? continuity. (On a sidenote, the upcoming issue of Justice League will supposedly reveal the Joker’s true name that Batman learned while God-ing out in the Mobius Chair.)
It will be interesting to see how honest the animated film is to the source material. Warner Bros. has reportedly given the ok to make the film R-rated (isn’t everything these days?) but a rating has not been given yet.
You can watch the “trailer” (and more) after the break. I found it a bit weak (and wonder how legit this is, more on that after the break as well) and I don’t know that it would draw in many fans who don’t already have some idea what is going on. But they still have time, and this feels more like a teaser trailer than a full trailer. But with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill on board as Batman and the Joker respectively, count me in.
The Justice League was originally DC’s premier super team, the big guns team you called in when really serious problems that even Superman (theoretically) could not stop alone came a’ callin’. Then, Post-Crisis, the League was actually turned into a book that was largely played for laughs. That run was actually hugely popular. Heck, Watson likes it, and he largely dislikes comics these days. Considering the run occurred about the same time as Frank Miller and Alan Moore had (inadvertently in Moore’s case) made superheroes a lot less fun and funny, that means a whole lot more.
And hey, we got the Beefeater from that period, too.
I’m not sure what to think about Bruce Timm’s (Batman: The Animated Series, among others) adaptation of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s The Killing Joke due for release in 2016. It is a critical, commercial and person favorite Batman/Joker story…but it is also exceptionally dark. It can be disturbing and is famous for the shooting and crippling of then Batgirl Barbara Gordon. It also features the naked tortures of Barbara and Jim Gordon that I’m sure won’t make it past the animated censors. It’s already been reported that the story will feature a new 15 minute prolouge to introduce the story. I wonder at the end of the day how much it will still resemble the source material?
I will guarantee one thing, Alan Moore won’t watch it.
On the plus side, multiple sources are reporting Mark Hamill has agreed to come out of his Joker retirement to voice the Clown Prince of Crime one more time. Hamill has said for years that he would love to do a version of TheKilling Joke, even encouraging fans to rally DC for it.
While Heath Ledger took a memorable turn in The Dark Knight, and I like Nicholson’s version, Hamill will always be the ultimate Joker to me. I’m sure it is a generational thing. Now, if they can just convince Kevin Conroy to sign up and end both their runs with a bang. And by the sounds of it, it might not take much convincing.
One of the most intriguing things DC Comics did after the original Crisis, though technically starting before it with Alan Moore’s phenomenal Swamp Thing run, was the creation of the Vertigo line for mature readers. The initial Vertigo books were ostensibly set in the same universe as the rest of the DC line, so while it was unlikely, it was possible in the early years before it became its own imprint and even sometimes afterwards for DC and Vertigo heroes to meet up. This era is what gave us excellent remakes on classic DC standbys, using old characters as building blocks for more thought-provoking, mature, or even barely related characters appearing in the aforementioned Moore’s Swamp Thing, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, and Peter Milligan’s Shade the Changing Man. Most of these new writers were British imports, including a little known at the time Grant Morrison, who would use this line to springboard into mature revamps of Animal Man and The Doom Patrol.
While Morrison’s Animal Man was used as an early opportunity to explore the writer’s ideas on metacommentary in superhero comics and his burgeoning vegetarianism (seriously, in his last Animal Man issue, he appears as himself to tell the readers to consider joining PETA), Morrison’s Doom Patrol is remembered for being just plain weird.
And in the middle of that weirdness, there was Crazy Jane.
I am approaching this particular case file with a bit of trepidation. Every other character I’ve used for this ongoing column has been owned by DC or Marvel. Some were misguided, some were inconsistent, some of them sucked, and some of them were used really well at some point and then just forgotten about.
Today’s entry is about a character that I only know about secondhand, but I’m feeling philosophical about the whole thing, so here we are. Today’s character is creator owned by Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko and has appeared only a handful of times over the years. His name is Mr. A.
The latest episode of the award winning Gabbing Geek podcast is out and it’s amazing. We’re talking about TV shows and movies which we haven’t done since…what…episode 36? Take a listen now to hear about next fall’s geek tv shows, James Cameron film rankings, and some discussion on Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing and the amazing movie Krull! Find out more after the break!